The postmodern architecture of Ricardo Bofill, a Catalan architect, is characterized by its crenellation, blocks of color, large size and straight, compact verticality. Space filled with layers of geometric shapes. Bofill designed his first project at the age of 23; since then he has completed more than a thousand in 50 countries. The team at his studios, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, is made up of not only architects and engineers, but also sociologists, writers, film directors and philosophers. As well as reviving traditional Catalan architecture in both design and construction, Bofill also tackles the problems linked to urban planning on a social and political level. He designed the Mohammed VI University in Morocco, the Cartier and Dior headquarters in Paris, the hi-speed railway station in Bologna, the residential De Monchyplein district in The Hague, the airport and the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona and the famous Muralla Roja in Calpe, on the Spanish coast, which recalls North African Kasbah architecture. The designer Nynne Kunde uses images of works by Bofill for her moodboards, inspired by his shapes and his use of color.
For Nynne, the quality of tailored clothes lies primarily in their shape, their pattern and cut. A high-end dress must suit different body shapes, drape well and make the wearer feel good. Clothes must fit a woman’s body, not the other way round. No longer, at least—this is her ethos, her personal revolution. Modern monochromes with bold combinations, Scandinavian no-frills starkness mixed with London eccentricity. At school, fashion design students are not taught just how to design and make clothes. They study the economy, marketing, communication and, above all, they learn about the relationship between fashion and art. They discover that fashion, to be contemporary, must speak the language of its target society. So they learn to visit exhibitions, to take an interest in painting, sculpture and design, dig out old classics and invent the future. They learn to keep a sharp eye open when they walk down the street—anything is a potential moodboard. Now that she is in Milan, having finished castings and fittings, Nynne wants to go to the Fondazione Prada, to see the Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf exhibition.
As well as the postmodernism of Bofill, this designer finds her inspiration in Copenhagen, her city of origin, and London, where she lives. While Danish style stands out for its minimalism and understatement, for its palette of shades of grey and its gender neutral, London vibrates through unbridled femininity, energetic colors, noise and irreverence . Nynne interprets the distinctive personalities of both cities, their esthetics and culture, with the aim of building a wardrobe that makes women feel at ease. She speaks of empowerment—being at ease makes you stronger—and of how fashion has the chance to give value to different femininities, without any tailoring limits or conceptual barriers. An empathetic approach to fashion, the creation of something that is not an unattainable goal, not frightening. No woman should look at a garment with longing and at the same time find herself thinking “it’s not for me.”
The Istituto Marangoni was founded in 1935 by the tailor Giulio Marangoni, with the aim of training professional pattern makers and tailors. Later it developed as a professional artistic school, still in the fashion sector, organizing three-year courses and master’s degrees in marketing, brand management, buying and communication. Today it is part of Galileo Global Education and has various schools around the world. In addition to the fashion schools, it has opened campuses for art and design. Former students at Marangoni include Domenico Dolce, Franco Moschino, Alessandra Facchinetti, Maurizio Pecoraro, Andrea Pompilio, Alberto Zambelli, and Paola Cademartori. Three years ago the institute set up the IM Alumni Collections Revolution contest for former fashion design students, with the aim of supporting young talent. A jury made up of internal management members and big names from industry select a single winner, who is offered production of a collection, the chance to hold a runway show in Milan during fashion week and promotion of their brand on a press office and commercial level. Partners of the contest include Luisaviaroma, which sells some of the garments from the collection on its e-commerce site. After seeing Armando Costa win in 2017 and Tiany Li in 2018, this year the prize went to Nynne Kunde.
Born in 1993 in Copenhagen, a former student at Istituto Marangoni in London, the designer held a runway show in Palazzo Serbelloni hosted by Ermanno Scervino, with the spring/summer collection by her brand, Nynne. Her move from London to Milan was not linear, and neither was her transition from fashion student to sector professional. In London there is room for creativity, while style in Milan is more conservative. Nynne knows this, but she appreciates the value that the city affords to tailoring and craftsmanship, together with the relaxed relationship that people in Milan have with fashion. During her studies she learnt the importance of having her own idea, of knowing how to champion it and remain faithful to her personal vision, because only in this way are you credible. She came to Italy with this awareness and meanwhile she is taking time to observe Milanese women, with their colorful skirts and chic shoes, lipstick and that apparently innate elegance that makes them stand out.
Ducens domina, this is the title of Nynne’s spring/summer collection. Domina, matron, lady of the house, landlady, but also leading lady, diva. Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not, in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage. Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and her rival, Bette Davis. Ava Gardner at the time of One Touch of Venus, before she married Sinatra. Lana Turner, Veronica Lake and Liz Taylor, with her violet eyes and seven husbands. They were cinema’s first leading ladies: emancipated women with their own distinguishing traits and their larger-than-life personalities. The shapes of the garments in the Ducens Domina collection are straight out of the forties, given a contemporary makeover. Fabrics were scarce in that period, due to the war, but fashion was becoming ever more similar to modern-day prêt à porter. Tight waists, large shoulders, gradually shorter skirts, and wide trousers. Middle-class coats and workwear. Femininity that was beginning to shed modesty without feeling the need to show too much. Dazzling, pictorial colors and a desire for lightness. There is also the Robyn coat and Diana dress from the previous collections, pieces that by now distinguish this brand, those we are starting to see on the street during fashion week. There is nothing that pleases a designer more than seeing their clothes worn by strangers, possibly modified, even totally distorted, teamed with sneakers. Different interpretations of a garment are a synonym of versatility.
In Copenhagen, when you get fed up with an item of clothing, you take it to a second-hand shop. In Chelsea, London, there is a charity shop where Victoria and David Beckham donate items from their wardrobes. In the Highgate area, you can find Kate Moss and Sienna Miller’s cast-offs. Nynne collects vintage clothing. Like many other young designers she responds to fast fashion, the environmental disaster and the crisis in creativity caused by overpopulation by creating timeless pieces. Garments that go beyond fashions and season, that can be reworked and even sold on. If for the moment she is happy to see her designs in streetstyle photos, she wouldn’t mind, in ten or twenty years’ time, coming across them in a vintage shop.
Young Bethany Williams—winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, which rewards best practices—produces entire collections using recycled materials, collaborating with the homeless and guests at the San Patrignano community. Still on the London catwalks, the CMMN SWDN brand shows deliberately oversize items, with holes and patches: the more you use them the more their beauty emerges. The answer to fast fashion also comes via sustainability. Nynne does not hide the difficulties, especially in financial terms, of ethical production, but it is no longer thinkable that a fashion brand, and particularly a new one, does not try at least to reduce waste and immorality through the use of high-quality fabrics and personal control of the production chain.